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Address by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, at the Joint Session of the three General Committees, the 15th Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (Vienna, February 25, 2016)

Dear colleagues,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate Mr. Roberto Montella on assuming his duties as the Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and wish him all the best.

We also pin our hopes on the successful German OSCE Chairmanship in 2016.

First and utmost, it concerns the situation in Ukraine. The Minsk agreements and in particular the Package of measures for their implementation create an essential framework to solve the crisis. It is time for all stakeholders to start acting and refrain from any confrontationalrhetoric. We believe that the proposal to set up a Contact group on Ukraine in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is still relevant today. We should not let this crisis slide into another frozen conflict.

“The security of each participating state is inseparably linked to that of all others”. This provision of the Astana Declaration has become even more important 40 years after the signature of the Helsinki Final Act. Terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, migration crisis, all these factors have a negative effect on global security.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe being, in essence, a Eurasian forum can and should contribute to restore trust between countries in the interests of comprehensive security.

The less mutual trust and cooperation exist the more opportunities terrorists get to undermine moral and political values of the modern civilization.

On May 31, 2016 in Astana we are hosting a parliamentary conference “Religions against Terrorism” that will be attended by representatives of all world and traditional religions. Taking this opportunity I am delighted to invite my distinguished colleagues to take part in this conference.

The fight against terrorism should not be limited only to the use of force. We all have witnessed that terrorism is a complicated phenomenon poisoning the minds and souls of young people around the planet. Therefore, we need a new ideology deriving from teachings of world and traditional religions to successfully respond to this global menace.

We welcome the agreement between the USA and Russia on the truce in Syria and urge all the parties concerned to strictly implement it in order to protect the fragile situation in the country.

Despite any disagreements, we should all unite to combat existential threats. Eurasian security is our common historical responsibility. Addressing the UN General Assembly President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to establish aglobal network to counter terrorism.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly should act in the spirit of a common political project. We find any policies aimed at blocking members of parliaments, in particular, their speakers from attending our forums by imposing visa restrictions, to be fully unacceptable.

There should be no room for sanctions in politics in the XXI century since they shatter the world economy. The right to impose sanctions is an exclusive power of the UN and ought to be applied in exceptional cases.

Despite the crisis, Kazakhstan is absolutely firm in its commitment to pursue institutional reforms. Last year President Nazarbayev launched the Plan of the Nation. This comprehensive document implies civil service reform, enhancing the rule of law, economic diversification and business development, strengthening Kazakhstan’s identity and unity, creating transparent and accountable government. To support these sweeping reforms the Parliament has already passed 59 laws and will consider some dozens more in the nearest future.

On March 20, 2016 elections to the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of the Parliament, will take place in Kazakhstan. 6 political parties will compete for the seats. The OSCE observation mission has been deployed. The elections will be open and fair in compliance with the national legislation and international standards.

Thank you for your attention.

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